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Boutique Hotel and Dining Experience at The Bower House, Shipston.
The Bower House Restaurant with Rooms is located in the heart of Shipston-On-Stour, a charming market town just 11 miles north of Stratford-Upon-Avon and 10 miles south of Chipping Norton. A great base for exploring the beautiful rolling hills of the Cotswolds, there are many things to see and do within easy reach. Nearby attractions include the Neolithic and Bronze Age Rollright Stones, the Cotswold Distillery, Compton Verney Art Gallery, the Broadway Tower, Hidcote Manor Garden and several other National Trust properties.
Having stood for years somewhat neglected, this Georgian Grade-II listed building was lovingly restored and refurbished by Andrew Knight (who escaped from London when he fell in love with Shipston) and now takes pride of place in the Old Town. Initially conceived for formal first-class dining (locals told us the street was lined with customers’ Rolls Royces and Bentleys) it has evolved into a more relaxed but nonetheless elegant affair. Andrew also owns Taste of the Country deli next door which supplies great fresh local produce.
We were met with a warm friendly welcome by a lovely young member of staff and shown to our accommodation. Ours was one of five bespoke rooms set over two floors above the restaurant and bar, accessed via a separate entrance.
With classical music piping through the Roberts radio, we felt transported to a genteel bygone era – an impression much enhanced by the beautiful period interior. The bedroom was generously proportioned and very well appointed, with lovely attention to detail. Dusky rose walls hung with gold-framed prints were complemented by heavy green fern motif curtains and a matching headboard on the sumptuous king size bed, where velvet cushions were scattered. Stylishly upholstered easy chairs sat by windows overlooking the High Street.
The effect is very much English-Country-House meets Mid-Century Modern: glowing table lamps, retro phone and radio, polished oak furniture – a drinks tray with sparkling crystal glasses and a selection of locally produced spirits complete the look. If you feel like dipping into the mini bar you can do so in style whilst browsing this month’s edition of Vogue…
There’s a wide selection of high-quality teas and a Nespresso coffee machine discreetly tucked away in the wooden sideboard, with pretty porcelain cups and saucers to drink from, and a jar of delicious home-baked cookies if you’re feeling peckish.
The opulent bathroom was almost as big as the bedroom, with a free-standing claw-foot cast iron bath and walk-in shower, two hand washbasins almost big enough to bath in, luxurious towels and a selection of organic Ila bath products, hand blended in the Cotswolds.
Having settled in we went down to the bar area, to whet our appetites with a couple of well-earned gin and tonics before being shown to our table. The restaurant is cosy and inviting, bistro-style; painted a warm shade of terracotta with low, beamed ceilings, low lighting and lots of colourful original art hanging in exposed brick alcoves. Oak flooring, bentwood chairs and leather banquettes create an understated elegance, and table settings sparkle prettily in soft candlelight. Massive picture windows provide a great outlook onto the High Street, and we enjoyed watching all the local comings and goings. And so began a very fine supper…
For starters, we enjoyed Chapel & Swan salmon mousse, lime & dill crème fraîche, crayfish tails and caviar. Heavenly fresh and clean, the creamy melt-in-the-mouth mousse was a perfect balance of smoke, tangy citrus and salt.
A delightful spring salad combined rainbow-coloured tomatoes, sweetly spiced pickled cucumber, aromatic pesto and peppery nasturtium flowers and light fresh homemade ricotta.
On to our main courses. A Succulent 8oz Herefordshire sirloin steak was tender and toothsome served with a glossy, peppery sauce, a juicy Portobello mushroom, and crispy-fluffy triple-cooked cooked chips. Divine…
The Cornish hake fillet was just as satisfying with luscious meaty fish recumbent on a bed of salsa-verde potatoes, accompanied by confit tomatoes and brown shrimp butter.
We drank delicious Viognier Luigi Bosch from Argentina, a dry and golden medium-bodied white with grassy notes and aromas of peach and apricot.
And for pudding, tiramisu crème Anglaise – a generous, spongy-plump dessert wonderfully rich and creamy with fresh coffee and alcohol notes.
White chocolate mousse with hazelnut praline was heavenly. Softly creamy and sweet, complemented by a tart apple sorbet and the crunch of cinnamon crumble.
Sincere compliments to the chef and team for a delicious and delightful evening.
And so upstairs for a good night’s sleep, nestled in crisp clean linen. Awaking refreshed from gentle slumbers, I thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful bathroom and began looking forward – to the prospect of breakfast!
Creamy scrambled egg with chives, smoked salmon and portobello mushroom: fresh orange juice and cups of steamy coffee – the perfect start to a day exploring Shipston Old Town and the surrounding countryside.
Andrew Knight and team are definitely at the top of their game at the Bower House Hotel, Shipston. Dining is fantastic (and reasonably priced), the ‘boutique’ accommodation delightfully designed and immaculately maintained, and the service is really outstanding – attentive and discreet. It’s also very family friendly with a particularly impressive family suite available with extra bunk beds for the kids! And of course, there’s free WiFi.
So if you’re looking for a memorable getaway in very beautiful surroundings, do look up The Bower House in Shipston-On-Stour. It’s a bit of a gem.
The Bower House
0160 866 3333
Disclosure: I was a guest of the Bower House, Shipston for the purpose of this review. All content is editorially given.
Looking for something different? Here are three other hotel recommendations:
- For a luxurious and historic hotel with an excellent spa and fine dining, how about Boringdon Hall Hotel, Plymouth
- Golfers and lovers of the countryside will appreciate Tewksbury Park Hotel in Gloucestershire
- If you’d prefer to go East from London, we can recommend a charming hotel in Dedham called The Sun Inn